The state of Florida is gearing up for a massive python hunting contest in the Everglades starting on Saturday. But an animal rights group is calling for the state to ban decapitation as a method of killing the giant snakes.
Decapitation is one of three lethal methods the state has authorized in the Python Challenge. The contest, which has cash prizes, is attracting hunters from all over the U.S. to help the state fight an infestation of non-native Burmese pythons.
But Lori Kettler, with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says decapitation cannot possibly be humane.
“This is going to create a machete-wielding army of inexperienced snake hunters," she said. "We’re quite concerned that any concern for the snakes' pain and suffering is likely to go without notice or consequence.”
Kettler said, reptile biologists say, snakes can feel pain for up to an hour after decapitation because of their slow metabolism.
PETA has sent a letter to the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, but the state has not responded.